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SHADOWHUNTERS Episode 2.10 Recap and Review – “By the Light of Dawn”

The winter season finale of SHADOWHUNTERS, “By the Light of Dawn,” pushed all the right buttons and made us all happy campers!

We recap episode 10 of Shadowhunters, “By the Light of Dawn,” which brings us halfway through season, and nicely answers a lot of questions that fans of the books have had. As much as we love the books by Cassandra Clare, the show is its own entity and took a lot of risks, which has culminated into a successful winter season finale.


The wards have been broken at the Institute. Madzie appears in the hallway, but when Alec tries to talk to her, she “pushes” him into the elevator. She ends up killing the rest of the Shadowhunters there before Valentine enters.

Clary and Jace and Luke are still at Valentine’s hideout. Valentine video calls Clary with Simon in the background tied up and gagged. He orders her to come to the Institute to activate the Soul-Sword or he’ll kill Simon.

Clary wants to go to save Simon, but Dot appears, weakened and caged, and tells them there’s another way to destroy the Soul-Sword. They bring her to Magnus’ place and she’s already looking better, but still weak.

She says that Jace can destroy the Sword if he touches it, but Luke and Clary aren’t ready to believe her. To get more insight, Magnus has Jace and Clary share the Angel Ithuriel’s vision with him. He interprets the vision to mean that a “Demon Morgenstern,” whom they believe is Jace, could destroy the Sword. But it will destroy Jace in the process.

Jace ensures them that he won’t destroy the Sword, but only get to it and bring it back to the Clave.

At Raphael’s place, Raphael admits he hasn’t cared about anyone in a long time, but when Izzy wants him to kiss her, he’s not interested in sex. It’s all about the blood. When Alec tries to text her for help, Raphael is the one to see it and turns off her phone. He tells her he has a meeting to go to, leaving Izzy there, and hiding her phone.

Alec finally calls Jace and they brief each other. Jace tells Alec to shut down the power core, which is what’s needed to help activate the Soul-Sword. When Alec is attacked, Aldertree comes to his aid.

Simon tries to argue the point that Clary needs a real father and why Valentine should change his ways for her. But when Valentine calls Clary, it doesn’t seem to have the affect Simon was hoping for, because Valentine cuts Simon’s throat as Clary and Magnus watch. He tells her she has only about thirty to forty minutes left before he dies if he doesn’t get any blood. Clary demands Magnus portal her there.

As Alec and Aldertree are carefully making their way to the power core, Alec reminds Aldertree that regardless of saving his life, he doesn’t consider Aldertree one of the good guys. He was, after all, responsible for getting Izzy hooked on yin fen.

On their way to the Institute, Luke and Jace are stopped by Maia, who had escaped from the storage room that Luke locked her in in the previous episode. She tries to attack them, but Luke stuns her unconscious.

Izzy finds her phone when it starts buzzing and she finally sees the texts from Alec.

When Magnus and Clary portal to the Institute, Raphael is there to stop them before they go in. He’s about to bite her, turn her, when Jace and Luke arrive just in time to stop him. Maia is also there, now conscious again, and holding off on doing anything, trusting Luke. Jace tells them he can destroy the Sword.

Madzie walks into the room where Simon and Valentine are. She looks concerned about the dying vampire, who’s bleeding all over, but Valentine tries to reassure her it’s all fake. He orders one of his men to take Madzie elsewhere.

Alec and Aldertree make it to the power core, but Aldertree doesn’t have the key to disable the core as it’s in his office, where Valentine is. Luckily, Aldertree knows how to override the control mechanism.

Alec thinks Aldertree doesn’t care about the Downworlders, but Aldertree shares his backstory of when he fell in love with a werewolf named Eva. He explains that Eva’s pack was attacked by a Shax demon and though she didn’t get killed then, she couldn’t control her wolf instincts, turned on Aldertree and attacked him. He killed her with his seraph blade. His conclusion is that a Shadowhunter can never be with a Downworlder.

When Luke explains to Maia that Jace’s plan will work, she’s reluctant, but will go with it for the pack, not for Luke. Alaric arrives with the rest of the pack. Also, Meliorn and other Seelie warriors. Meliorn is also reluctant to believe this will work, but will fight with them anyway. Alaric doesn’t believe it will work, but he trusts Luke anyway.

Valentine and his men bring Clary to Simon after she arrives and at her insistence, she cuts herself to let Simon feed. When he finally does and takes a good amount, Valentine’s men stop him.

That’s when we realize that Clary is really Jace when he shapeshifts back to himself. Wait. Whaaaaat???

Elsewhere in the Institute, Magnus and Clary spot Madzie in the hallway. Clary goes to find Simon and Magnus goes after Madzie.

When Magnus confronts Madzie, she tries her suffocate Magnus, but he’s unaffected by her power and shows her he’s a warlock as well. He tells her that Valentine lied about Nana and has been using her. She finally goes to him.

Simon is strong enough to knock Valentine down while he’s arguing with Jace. Jace and Simon escape, leaving Valentine unconscious while they go look for the Soul-Sword.

Clary, unfortunately, is outnumbered where she is and Valentine’s hunters take hold of her.

Aldertree can’t get into the system before some of Valentine’s hunters arrive. Luckily, Izzy shows up and takes all four of them out. She almost collapses afterwards, but Alec is there to hold her up. Aldertree is speechless.

While Simon and Jace are walking through the Institute, Simon apologizes for feeding too long on him, saying that he would’ve killed him. But Jace acknowledges that he would’ve let him. Darn that vampire venom/Shadowhunter blood thing!

Jace and Simon spot the Sword, which is already in the power core. As they’re about to move in, though, Valentine shows up with Clary in tow. Right when Valentine is about to force Clary’s hand onto the Sword, Simon vamps his way over to them and knocks them down.

Outside the Institute, the Downworlders are going in, but Luke, Maia and Meliorn are attacked by Valentine’s hunters, Meliorn stabbed in the process.

Inside, Jace takes the Sword out. It doesn’t kill him and the Sword is not destroyed. Valentine, now conscious, takes the Sword in his own hand and just as the Downworlders come to fight him, he holds the Sword up, and kills all the Downworlders there…

…except Simon.

Valentine has disappeared. Jace wakes up, and they realize that Jace does NOT have demon blood in him after all. Jace activated the Sword because he has angel blood.

Alec runs in, and at first accuses Clary, but Jace tells him the truth. He wants to know where Magnus is and leaves to go find him, unsure what to say to Jace. Jace is upset, obviously blaming himself for what happened.

Assuming from the screams they heard from outside, Maia knows the Downworlders in there are dead. Maia is furious at Jace since it was his plan, which now failed to stop Valentine. She wants to deal with Jace, but Luke tells her to go back to the Jade Wolf for the rest of the pack.

Elsewhere outside the Institute, Valentine is about to activate the Sword again, but Luke, in wolf form, stops him. Unfortunately, Valentine stabs him and Luke changes back to his human form. Before Valentine can make the final blow, Jace shows up, stopping him.

Valentine reveals that he knew Jace would want to be the hero and try to save everyone, which is why he let Dot overhear what he had to say. He then reveals that Jace is not his son, Jocelyn is not his mother, and Clary is not his sister. CLARY IS NOT HIS SISTER! Jace doesn’t believe it, but Valentine reminds him that the Soul-Sword also doesn’t allow anyone holding it to lie.

They battle it out via fisticuffs after both disarm each other.

Clary arrives and she grabs hold of the Soul-Sword. A new rune appears for her and she draws it on the Sword. The Sword is deactivated and she drops it when it burns her hand.

Jace knocks Valentine down, but just as he’s about to kill Valentine, Clary stops him, saying that he’s the only one who knows where the Mortal Cup is. Ahhhh, yes, there’s that, too!

Aaaand, the Sword has vanished.

When Jace brings Valentine into the Institute, Valentine says that he doesn’t know where the Sword is. Jace wonders what other lies he’s told, but Valentine only says he didn’t lie about his love for him. Hmmm…Valentine has a very demented way of showing it.

Apparently Alec has been searching the rest of the night for Magnus, because it’s daytime by the time they see each other again. Magnus had taken Madzie to Catarina’s (if you’re unfamiliar with the books, Catarina is another warlock and close friend of Magnus’.)

Alec confesses he’s never felt that kind of fear of not knowing whether Magnus was dead or alive. He tells him he loves him. He used the “L” word! Magnus reciprocates. They kiss!

Inside, the bodies of the fallen Downworlders are still there as the Shadowhunters assess each one, I guess. Simon is there and finds Alaric, giving him a little lament.

When the sunlight shines through the window on Simon, he’s shocked to find nothing is happening to him. He stands in the sun’s warmth.

Izzy handcuffs one of Valentine’s hunters and Raphael is there, having got out in time. Raphael tries to take her hand, but she relents and tells him she doesn’t want anything from him.

Jace tells Alec the truth about Clary not being his sister, and says that he plans to tell Clary.

Luke wakes up in the Institute, with his wound bandaged up. Clary is there and tells him that Valentine is now locked up. When Luke goes back to sleep, Simon brings Clary with him outside to show her he’s impervious to sunlight. They hug and kiss, with Jace watching.

That night, we see a hidden figure walking away with the Sword in his hands. Who. Is. That?!

And that is the the Winter Season Finale!


In my opinion, this is the best episode we’ve seen so far from Shadowhunters. It was full of action, drama, emotion, and surprises that had me wishing it wouldn’t end. Throughout the season, and including last season, we’ve seen our Shadowhunters and the Downworlders they care about go through a lot of crap.

What was great about this episode was that it covered so many topics that were brought out. Valentine’s control over Madzie? Taken care of. Isabelle and Raphael’s co-dependent relationship? No more. Even some big issues that were in the books were brought to light – Simon realizing he’s able to stand in sunlight, and Valentine revealing to Jace that he is not a Morgenstern, and thus not Clary’s brother.

Oddly enough, what I really liked about those moments was that the writers were able to bring them about without having to do it in the exact way it was done in the books, and yet they were still able to bring that same essence from the Shadowhunter Chronicles onto the TV series.

What was impressive was that the actors really seemed to grow into their characters significantly in this episode. The calm and collective, yet all-too-familiar wrong-thinking of Valentine Morgenstern was brilliantly done by Alan Van Sprung. The emotional and guilt-ridden despair of Jace shone through with Dominic’s performance. Katherine McNamara has brought more intensity to Clary in a way that doesn’t look cheesy or flighty.

My only caveat might be the confessions of love between Magnus and Alec. Honestly, I felt it just could’ve been…stronger in the emotion department from both of them. Although I’m happy that they did confess their love, I felt that the one kiss didn’t show display how deep their love is supposed to be. Maybe it’s just me.

Anywhoo…overall, it was a very excellent winter season finale with lots of issues resolved, only to make room for more issues to create, like the hooded figure carrying the Soul-Sword. Many book fans already figured it out, but for the sake of those who’ve only been watching the series, let’s keep guessing.


The second half of Season 2 begins June 5th!

By Nat, the Geek Girl

Southern California native who likes movies, books (Shadowhunter Chronicles, NA, YA fantasy, Red Rising series), TV shows (The Sandman), and San Diego Comic-Con. I also like to write, but don't get to do much of that aside from on here. I fell into the BTS rabbit hole, and I refuse to leave.